GOP Moves Against Human Rights In DC

(Jim Young / Reuters)

“As quickly as marriage rights are sweeping the nation, Republicans are busy playing discrimination whack-a-mole. Once one civil rights victory is achieved, Republicans are there with at least two more ways to make LGBT people’s lives miserable.”

– Wendy Gittleson on Addicting Info

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY continuously invests itself in the goal of creating more barriers for the LBGT community and women in the United States. Most recently they are seeking to encroach on the rights of D.C. employees who seek to start a family and do not meet with the so-called “traditionalist” standards of the GOP.

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While the new Congress plays political schenanigans, in a standard move of expressing disdain for anything to do with Human Rights, the Obama White House is forging an Iranian nuke deal and been very proactive in combating the Islamic State with air strikes. The House GOP is likely only just getting started with this recent move in D.C.

On a lighter note Sen. Mitch McConnell is to be commended for crossing party lines and voting to approve U.S. District Attorney Loretta Lynch yesterday, along with nine of his fellow Senate Republicans.

Too Many Puppies

Eric in a Cowboy Hat

Geez, I made too many and started so many projects over the years.

Really nuts going through this blog stuff. 

Easily my biggest post is Kira’s Kingdom.

Starting doing minor podcasting with a voice recorder and discovered a nice little resource for my fellow Web creators to brush up on:

Digital Media Law Project: Fair Use

(URL: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/fair-use)

Also have this always saved and ready to go now…

THIS PODCAST DOES NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF YOUTUBE, GOOGLE OR RESPECTIVE PARTNERSHIPS. THIS CONTENT IS USED IN THE FULL SPIRIT OF THE FAIR USE POLICIES AND PRACTICES.

 

—-

 

Follow @ Blogger:

 

http://ericlightborn.blogspot.com

 

Follow @ Twitter:

 

https://twitter.com/EricLightborn

Bipartisan Blogging Dies at Birth

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When I first set forth to imprint myself upon the wildly evolving beast of the blogosphere I held with me a tenuous goal: to create a fully bipartisan blog.

A place that would be both policy and ideology neutral, yet dealt in real news topics.

While the value of this concept in itself still appears quite sound in my mind, I discovered through personal experience that throwing that concept away was the best thing I ever did for my blog as a rank amateur in the mix. (Still working on that.)

Blogger tis I:

My posting entitled “Ann Coulter Still Sucks” was one of first impressions unto this wild animal of internet-posting that I can claim to my credit. Every word of that is partisanship, I am completely unashamed.

My posting entitled “The Libra-Scorpio Cusp” is enjoyed by many. I point out an internet inconsistency between websites and briefly address my feelings on Astrology.

Recently I was honored to have received an Editor’s Pick on Open Salon for what accounts to the end result of these bipartisan efforts of mine.

I thank the Editors of Open Salon for the honor in being selected.

In course of presenting the issue of Jimmy Carter’s words concerning race in America, I unconsciously fell into my routine of trying to revive the lost art of bipartisanship.

I presented the words of Alan Wilson rebuking the words of Carter directly as to any racial motives in his father Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst.

I withheld the words of what I view as righteous indignation and retained myself to news-commentary.

However, my truly Bipartisan Blogging is dead. I fully intend to address every issue that I view as significant regardless of the possible offense drawn from that perspective.

Once you mix an opinion with a platform, you get punditry. Once the opinion is interjected into the Left versus Right Debate, it is already too late.

What remains within me though are the principals of striving toward fair play and equal consideration of alternative perspectives, and still with my own case intact. The value of this bipartisanship effort is lost, but the spirit remains intact. The reason being for this loss, in my view, has to do this the source from which it comes.

Despite all reports to the contrary, I am not a big deal.

The person to revive journalistic standards in the United States, is not I.

I instead must cry out into the wilderness to capture this beast, while those within the press need only touch a laptop. So is the way of things. But while ‘truth’ can be subjective, the facts are not.

“You can have your own opinion, but you don’t get to chose your own facts.”

I make a great many declarative statements in the course of blogging, formed primarily from simple political and media analysis, which accounts to online punditry.

But I believe strongly in full disclosure of the fact that I am a liberal and freely admit it may alter my world view in some cases.

But the facts don’t lie, and I believe in the growing majority of cases the facts are on my side.

Pointing Fingers:

It could be said that I am extremely critical of the right wing in US Politics.

If one were to ever take the time to read backwards into my blog it can be found that I have tried to draw a line between “Thinking Conservatives” and “Limited Conservatives“.

Other times I have directly defended the specific quotes of both Carrie Prejean and Rick Warren.

Treading this line in not some political game on my part, but rather my honest opinion on those matters.

I believe that is what we have escaped from in the madness of mass computing and super-fast news-cycles. Partisanship sells books as much as it moves blog-hits, so perhaps some of these political shock jocks like Ann Coulter would rather be reasonable in her arguments, but it simply doesn’t pay the bills.

The truth being what is lost in this exchange, and I think that sort of thing is a shame.

I would much rather have a discussion in disagreement than just label others as “tools”, “fascists”, “un-American”, or “racists”.

But that creation of mine that might cross party lines, and maybe bring sanity to the mix to see what happens will have to wait for a another day. The raw truth of opinion should not replace factual evidence. Such is the road to tyranny.

So I have taken another road. I drew a line in the sand that allows me to say what I will of Republicans, or Democrats.

For instance, the Republican Party is currently self-destructing and the Democratic Party has dropped the ball on health care reform.

Such statements embody my current stage in blogging evolution.

Finale:

The spirit of political bipartisanship and the need for balance remains within me, but the middle ground is now mainly unattainable without the acceptance of false claims and baseless assertions. Any critical review of facts debunks most conservative mantras.

There is much to be said for ideological differences enhancing a debate but when the debate is centered around misrepresentations and sweeping accusations of assumed wrong-doing there simply to no room in which to move in.

I will most likely continue to be mistaken for a conservative by both machines that dictate ad banners and internet users alike, but this just a by-product of my attempt to split everything down the middle.

To me, most these differences are best settled in the voting booth at election time.

But if the accuracy of the information we receive is suspect and unverifiable then we have a responsibility as citizens to recognize this fact.

This tense political and social division has forever been an element of American Life, but I believe that the situation is amplified by media-giants who profit from the repetition of partisan smears of any person or group.

I can only pray for a day of more a more honest and non-biased form of journalism catching the eye of the American public, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

Eric Lightborn

http://ericlightborn.blogspot.com

http://twitter.com/EricLightborn

September 29th 2009

Frank Luntz is a Word-Weasel

Frank Luntz

Rightwing pollster Frank Luntz is out promoting his new book: “What Americans Really Want, Really” and getting his definitions completely wrong in regards to Political Science, which I seriously doubt is an amateurish mistake.

On Alan Colmes Radio, Luntz continued the conservative rhetoric that United States of America is a “center-right country” and his words in explanation of this were very revealing as to his own personal bias against getting the definitions right, even when those words might not serve your own political ends.

This is a center-right country but the definition of ‘Center-Right‘ has changed. ‘Center-Right’ doesn‘t mean keeping government out of our lives anymore, .. now it means fighting corruption.

This is the Word-Weasel at work.

Fighting corruption in both government and private sectors has always been the ideals of The Progressive Reformist Movement since it’s inception and these ideals have remained as a fact of American Life since then. To attach his own ideological group to these values is outright inaccurate.

Frank Luntz is very good at catering messages that appeal to conservatives and work well for The Republican Party but I find the notion that he is not affected by political bias in most of his statements completely absurd.

Center-Right has, and always will, mean exactly what Luntz claimed on the air that it does not mean.

It is clear to me that he feels free to change the definitions of words as he sees fit in order to further his own personal political agenda. If he cannot admit that the nation obviously shifted to Center-Left with the election of a Democratic President, and the ambitions of sixty House seats being attained by The Democratic Party then I am left to question the very conclusions of his work.

No doubt he has attained a great deal of significant data in his 6,000+ focus groups he used to compile his recent book, but if the standards of recognizing professional bias and personal bias are ignored then the conclusions of the body of work become suspect.

This is a Radio-interview Review, not a Book Review, so that body of work is not my focus and I invite anyone interested to avail themselves of this literature.

My only point is that if Frank Luntz is going to change the definitions of sound science to fit his image on a radio show, it begs to question other matters of credibility as well.

In his credit, I don’t believe he ever joined in the hateful mantra of “socialist” aimed at liberals, Democrats and mainly Obama.

On the list of all the partisans out there, Luntz is a minor offender.

But I still find it the worst of offenses to change the words to fit your needs, and considering they call him ‘The Words That Work Guy’; I think maybe it should be elongated to ‘The Words That Work No Matter What Guy’.

Frank Luntz is a smart cookie. But I’d personally almost compared him to Karl Rove, myself. Dancing around the truth has never been part of The Scientific Approach.

What Americans really want, really, is for pollsters to stop telling them what they think when it’s really just what the pollster thinks about what you think.

Jimmy Carter And The Race Card

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I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American,” Carter told NBC News. “I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that shares the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans.

That racism inclination still exists, and I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people — not just in the South but around the country — that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply,Carter said.

The oldest son of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, Alan Wilson, has come to his father’s defense in regards to a racial motivation to the uncouth interruption of President Obama during an address to a Joint-Session of Congress.

There is not a racist bone in my dad’s body,” said Alan Wilson, an Iraq veteran who is running for state attorney general in South Carolina. “He doesn’t even laugh at distasteful jokes. I won’t comment on former President Carter, because I don’t know President Carter. But I know my dad, and it’s just not in him.

It’s unfortunate people make that jump. People can disagree — and appropriately disagree — on issues of substance, but when they make the jump to race it’s absolutely ludicrous. My brothers and I were raised by our parents to respect everyone regardless of background or race.

I personally believe that former President Carter’s words were the absolute truth. I doubt that Rep. Wilson was motivated by a direct, personal hatred for Barack Obama based on his skin color but rather that he chose to be so disrespectful and chose to insult the nation in the way he did because of the exact principals that Carter touched on in the above quote.

The notion that Obama is not qualified to state facts as a President addressing the Congress and that one must not even hear out his entire address before rebuking him, is so outrageous and unheard of up until this point, that few other explanations remain. Joe Wilson continues to defend his un-American slander and claim that he was truthful in his statements when in fact he was, and is, completely misguided.

The notion that all strong resistance to Obama coming from the middle and the right is pure racism is also inaccurate, in my view.

However, the people who constantly use the argument that not everyone opposed to Obama is a racist are very often the same people who fail to point out the racists on the right-wing and fail to be honest about the reasons for their own intense outrage. Or they fail to give any rational explanation that makes any kind of sense for their intense fear mongering and willingness to believe wild claims about Barack Obama.

Dick Cheney Fails To Understand American Values

dick-cheney

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney continues to obfuscate the truth and tarnish the name of all Republicans by means of standing up for cruel and unusual punishment of military detainees.

Appearing on FOX News Sunday recently, the former Vice President continued to advocate a dangerous and sick agenda by claiming pride for the torture and prisoner mistreatment that occurred under The Bush Administration.

Beyond this outrageous fact, Cheney made a statement that I see as a direct affront to very heart of American Values like he has never done before.
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WALLACE: So even these cases [of interrogation] where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you’re OK with it.”

3_61_320_cheney

CHENEY: I am.

This was a true testament to how divorced Dick Cheney remains from any understanding of our national standards of justice and our mutual values as a people.

Cheney clearly declares that he cares nothing as to the pursuit of justice to those that break the law under the blanket of authority claiming to pursue justice themselves.

This country does not accept any person or body to be beyond the law, and Cheney insulted this nation by supporting the notion that supporting illegal actions under government supervision are acceptable in a free nation of laws.

Reality Check: Economics in America

1.globe_and_moneyLet it be said that I am not bought off and not invested in how much money you make one way or the other.

I am one of last people on the web that is willing to tell the truth and attempt to remove all the shadowing and spin that resides over all that is the media.

Allow me to be plain:

We are headed for a depression.

I repeat this as a man with three businesses and a successful career in marketing said this statement to me.

A math teacher of high credentials has said to same to me in the past year.

You won’t hear this from the bought and paid for economists who sat on their hands and let our economy crumble beneath us as they remained mute.

While the word ‘depression’ in regards to economics is about to appear on the FFC Banned Words List there is much to be understood about what awaits us.

I’ll remove as much jargon as I can.

The economy will go up. But then it will come back down again.

They call me a “W” in terms of my economic perspective in that I believe we will regain strength in the market in coming quarters. But I think these will be temporary gains and ultimately we will fall back into a recession cycle that will lead to a depression.

Most media economists tell you that they are a “V” which to me just denotes that they are blindly optimistic or much more likely bought and paid for.

Some maintain that there will be no improvement and they are labeled the “L‘s”.

And some still think we will have gradual and slow recovery that is unhampered and they are labeled as “U‘s”.

Anyone like myself who speaks of a forthcoming American Depression would squarely fit into the “W” or the “L” camps.

However, the notion that all hope is lost is a false one.

Most of us ‘money-savvy’ people already know that fortunes can be made in depressions and that the wealth of the nation will not dissolve into thin air but rather will be distributed down to the people who have the intelligence and the foresight to take advantage of the downturn.

This is just a sliver-lining though. Each family should take real steps right away to build up the value of your home, maximize your portfolio and be prudent about major expenses.

But it’s important to realize that if we are going to prove me, a math teacher and a successful business man wrong that this nation will have to refocus itself on consumer spending.
If all of America continues to tighten it’s belt in this endless fashion then you begin to see why some predict this outcome at a latter date. Most say about three years and I would estimate a little longer span of time but the same end result.

The Sotomayor Hearings: Day One

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Following is the prepared text of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, as released by the White House:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for that kind introduction.

In recent weeks, I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting eighty-nine gracious Senators, including all the members of this Committee. I thank you for the time you have spent with me. Our meetings have given me an illuminating tour of the fifty states and invaluable insights into the American people.

There are countless family members, friends, mentors, colleagues, and clerks who have done so much over the years to make this day possible. I am deeply appreciative for their love and support. I want to make one special note of thanks to my mom. I am here today because of her aspirations and sacrifices for both my brother Juan and me. Mom, I love that we are sharing this together. I am very grateful to the President and humbled to be here today as a nominee to the United States Supreme Court.

The progression of my life has been uniquely American. My parents left Puerto Rico during World War II. I grew up in modest circumstances in a Bronx housing project. My father, a factory worker with a third grade education, passed away when I was nine years old.

On her own, my mother raised my brother and me. She taught us that the key to success in America is a good education. And she set the example, studying alongside my brother and me at our kitchen table so that she could become a registered nurse. We worked hard. I poured myself into my studies at Cardinal Spellman High School, earning scholarships to Princeton University and then Yale Law School, while my brother went to medical school. Our achievements are due to the values that we learned as children, and they have continued to guide my life’s endeavors. I try to pass on this legacy by serving as a mentor and friend to my many godchildren and students of all backgrounds.

Over the past three decades, I have seen our judicial system from a number of different perspectives – as a big-city prosecutor, a corporate litigator, a trial judge and an appellate judge. My first job after law school was as an assistant District Attorney in New York. There, I saw children exploited and abused. I felt the suffering of victims’ families torn apart by a loved one’s needless death. And I learned the tough job law enforcement has protecting the public safety. In my next legal job, I focused on commercial, instead of criminal, matters. I litigated issues on behalf of national and international businesses and advised them on matters ranging from contracts to trademarks.

My career as an advocate ended—and my career as a judge began—when I was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. As a trial judge, I decided over four hundred and fifty cases, and presided over dozens of trials, with perhaps my best known case involving the Major League Baseball strike in 1995.

After six extraordinary years on the district court, I was appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On that Court, I have enjoyed the benefit of sharing ideas and perspectives with wonderful colleagues as we have worked together to resolve the issues before us. I have now served as an appellate judge for over a decade, deciding a wide range of Constitutional, statutory, and other legal questions.

Throughout my seventeen years on the bench, I have witnessed the human consequences of my decisions. Those decisions have been made not to serve the interests of any one litigant, but always to serve the larger interest of impartial justice.

In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law – it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress’s intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand.

The process of judging is enhanced when the arguments and concerns of the parties to the litigation are understood and acknowledged. That is why I generally structure my opinions by setting out what the law requires and then by explaining why a contrary position, sympathetic or not, is accepted or rejected. That is how I seek to strengthen both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of our justice system. My personal and professional experiences help me listen and understand, with the law always commanding the result in every case.

Since President Obama announced my nomination in May, I have received letters from people all over this country. Many tell a unique story of hope in spite of struggles. Each letter has deeply touched me. Each reflects a belief in the dream that led my parents to come to New York all those years ago. It is our Constitution that makes that Dream possible, and I now seek the honor of upholding the Constitution as a Justice on the Supreme Court.

I look forward in the next few days to answering your questions, to having the American people learn more about me, and to being part of a process that reflects the greatness of our Constitution and of our nation. Thank you.

***

The Washington Post has coverage of the live blogging from the hearings themselves.

You Only Have Three Choices

There are endless possibilities within contemplation and creative expression. An infinite number of ways to view, reflect, express and ponder.

But as to the confines of reacting to our environment there seem to be only three options. Only three choices.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

{+ Positive +  ( = Neutral = )  – Negative -}

{+ Creation +  ( = Equilibrium = )  – Destruction -}

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Let’s use an every-day example:

You wanted to go on a bike ride today. Unpredicted heavy rains have come to your area and are not expected to leave for several days.

In a positive outlook, this is a chance to catch up on reading, housework or perhaps to spend time with friends and family.

In a neutral outlook, this rain has no effect on your day and you may go ride your bike anyway or you may stay indoors due to the rain and both events are equally desirable to you.

In a negative outlook, this rain has ruined your day and no matter what activity you engage in you will resent deeply that fact that you are not riding your bike.

The ‘bike riding’ example is more or less what we most often from motivational speakers and self-help books. The concept that if you change your outlook on life you can attain happiness in your life now, instead of waiting for the perfect job or the perfect mate to fill that hole.

I don’t fully subscribe to this logic. I see all people as first and foremost human beings. And human beings have all three of these reactionary options available to them no matter what choices they have made prior to this moment in time.

I don’t condone negative and destructive behaviors, but I see them entirely human acts to commit.

I don’t condone utter apathy and ignorance of your emotions, but I know most have strong and often private reasons for behaving as such.

And finally I don’t support viewing all the world and your part in it as purely positive and affirming. We must strive for such a goal, must reach toward such heights without pause or question. But to believe we are not flawed nor perfectly capable of destruction and causing pain unto others is a flawed perspective.

I see a lot of people using different words to describe the same thing.

I say positive and negative, someone else says ‘evil’ and ‘good.’

I say creation and destruction, someone else says ‘angels’ and ‘demons.’

In my mind it is all the same elements expressed in different fashions. Humans trying to paint a picture using symbols but failing to recognize the source of these ‘evils.’

We are the source. We drew the line in the sand that says what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong.’ Whatever religious beliefs a person might have there is a serious need to recognize that negative elements in all societies such as greed, hatred, violence and slander are acts committed by human beings.

My perspective allows no one to excuse their unkind and hostile behavior as acceptable in any way. I only seek to point out that all of us work within the same confines of human emotion and human irrationality. Rather than try to define our species as something it is not and never was, a perfect race.

Iran Explodes with Unrest

Huffington Post has the latest updates on the Iranian situation.

I would draw your attention to the final video on the post: “12:17 AM ET — Awe-inspiring courage.”

Tobacco Taxes

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I only think one thing about the issue of Tobacco Taxation:

Alcohol Taxation
.

I only think one thing about the issue of Tobacco Company Regulation:

Drug Company Regulation.

—–

Alcohol Taxation:

If the drug being taxed was alcohol instead of tobacco the public outcry would tear down the establishment in days, if not hours.

I’m not even against a “Sin Tax.

I just think that smokers have become the latest minority to persecute at the benefit of the masses. That’s all.

Drug Company Regulation:

Double-blind studies on all FDA approved pharmaceuticals and removing all conflicts of interest between FDA regulators and drug companies are far more important matters for the FDA to address than clamping down on the Nicotine-Addiction Industry.

Once again I’m not directly opposed to the new federal regulations placed on the Tobacco Industry.

I only think that this wastes time and uses yet another federal agency in a futile misdirection of vital government resources.